Loving kindness meditation helps us develop a compassionate attitude towards ourselves and others. This form of meditation, also known as metta, is a Buddhist concept encompassing ideas of non-romantic love, kindness and non-violence.
The practice of this meditation involves sending loving kindness firstly to ourselves then to those around us, even those with whom we have conflict. The focal point is the repetition of specific sentences which generate feelings of loving kindness for the meditator.
Loving kindness teaches to us to adopt a calmer and kinder attitude which encourages positive connections between our minds, ourselves and others.
Advice for Practice
The sentences which feature in this meditation involve the sentiments of safety, health, happiness and a life of peace, however the meditator is empowered and encouraged to come up with their own sentences. The meditation will have the greatest impact when it’s sentences are subjectively meaningful.
The object of the meditation slowly shifts from a focus on the self, to a friend then to an individual with whom there is conflict and finally to the wider community. This progression assists the meditator in developing their sense of common humanity and self compassion.
When engaging in this meditation difficult feelings may arise, after all we are not simple beings and our experiences with ourselves and the world around us can sometimes kick up some emotional dust.
Fortunately though there are many ways to clear the air.
Mindfulness meditation is one such method as it helps to bring to our awareness to the present moment with a non-judgmental attitude, thus encouraging our acceptance of our current situation. The following article shows the benefits and provides some tips for practicing mindfulness meditation at work.
Another method which can help to settle the dust is the use of focused attention on the breath, our essential inhalations and exhalations have for centuries, in Buddhist traditions, provided direction for a single focused meditation.
Regular practice of loving kindness meditation can offer the many benefits of meditation with additional developments of self-compassion and common humanity which provide a strong platform for healing and well being.
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- Shonin, E., Van Gordon W., Compare, A., Zangeneh, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Buddhist-derived loving-kindness and compassion meditation for the treatment of psychopathology: A systematic review. Mindfulness, DOI: 10.1007/s12671-014-0368-1.